When wedding planner Kelsey McKenna goes to the Wine Country Wedding Faire, the last thing she expects to do is take on new clients. After all, she’s just there to help out her friend Brody and maybe score some free cupcakes. But when a young couple in a pinch asks for her help, she just can't say no.
There’s only one problem: they’d been working with Babs Norton, the self-proclaimed Queen of Wine Country Weddings—and things did not end well. Kelsey wants to make sure there are no hard feelings, but unfortunately she never gets the chance. When she goes to Babs’ office, she finds the wedding planner dead on the floor.
Babs' high-strung assistant Stefan knows exactly who killed Babs: Kelsey. At least, that's what he very publicly accuses her of at Babs' funeral. When Kelsey decides to do a little sleuthing to clear her name, she uncovers a myriad of secrets and lies. And when a second wedding planner is attacked, Kelsey begins to wonder if she might be next.
Set against the stunning backdrop of California wine country, Marla Cooper's Dying on the Vine is a mystery brimming with gossip, wine, and, of course…murder.
In Cooper's disappointing follow-up to 2016's Terror in Taffeta, wedding planner Kelsey McKenna finds herself in trouble after discovering the body of a colleague, Babs Norton, "the self-proclaimed Queen of Wine Country Weddings," in Babs's San Francisco office during a professional call. After the memorial service for Babs, Kelsey returns to Babs's office to picks up some files only to be accused of murder by Babs's shrewish assistant, Stefan Pierce. Kelsey feels compelled to investigate for her own self-preservation, enlisting the help of her resourceful assistant, Laurel, and photographer friend Brody Marx. Along the way, Stefan disappears, and Kelsey encounters a tipsy sister of Babs, a smooth CEO of a Napa winery and his rude winemaker brother, a good cop bad cop duo, and a volatile father of the bride. Callous behavior by Kelsey, plotting problems, and loose ends contribute to a less-than-satisfying read.
Second book in series!
Dying on the Vine is the latest novel by Marla Cooper. This is the second book in Kelsey McKenna Destination Wedding Mysteries. Kelsey McKenna is a destination wedding planner in San Francisco, California. She is attending the Wine Country Wedding Faire to assist her friend, Brody, a wedding photographer. He has a booth at the fair and needs extra assistance. In the afternoon, Brody introduces Kelsey to Haley Bennett and Christopher Riegert. They are in desperate need of a wedding planner for their event in four weeks at the Higgins Estate. Kelsey agrees to meet them the next morning. The day is going well until she runs into the obnoxious Stefan Pierce, assist to Babs Norton of Weddings by Babs. Stefan seems to delight in being rude, condescending and nasty. Kelsey is glad when she escapes his presence. The next day she meets with her new clients. It turns out that they originally had Babs as their wedding planner until Haley’s father fired her. Kelsey bites the bullet and calls Babs. Babs agrees to meet Kelsey the next morning and turn over the files on the wedding (the bride knows none of the details regarding her wedding). Kelsey picks up pastries along the way. Kelsey hits the buzzer and receives no answer. She finally sneaks in when someone exits. The door to the offices is open and Kelsey enters when no one responds. Kelsey is startled when a phone rings and the pastries go flying around the room. She gets down on the floor to pick them up and discovers Babs dead behind the couch. Kelsey manages to call the police despite her fright. She attends Babs’ funeral with her assistant Laurel and is invited back to Babs house afterward by the deceased sister, Margot. Stefan is not pleased by Kelsey’s attendance and announces to one and all that she killed Babs. When this announcement affects her business, Kelsey starts searching for the real killer. Kelsey will need to be cautious since it seems to be open season on wedding planners. The killer strikes down another one and, if Kelsey keeps poking around, she could be next.
Dying on the Vine is a humorous cozy mystery. It has more of the cozy element than the mystery. I found the book to be easy to read with a good flow. The main character owns her own business, is clumsy, babbles when nervous, and prefers to avoid confrontations (uncomfortable situations, people she does not like, etc.). I prefer strong female characters who are intelligent and confident (especially when they own their own business). While this is the second book in the series, it can be read alone. Terror in Taffeta is the first book in this series. I give Dying on the Vine 3 out of 5 stars. Dying on the Vine is just not my type of book. I am not a fan of the inane humor in Dying on the Vine. It had me rolling my eyes until I gave myself a headache. The mystery was complex (which is why I gave it a 3) and many readers will not guess the identity of the killer. The descriptions of the wine country were lovely. I can see why brides like to have weddings in Napa Valley. If you enjoy comical cozy mysteries, then I suggest you give Dying on the Vine a try.
Marla Cooper's Dying on the Vine
Babs Norton, a wedding planner, is found dead!!!
Who found her ?? Who had reason to kill her???
Kelsey McKenna is a wedding planner in the wine
country of California. Kelsey is hired by client whose
father had fired Babs Norton as wedding planner
for his daughter's wedding. Babs arranges to meet
and give Kelsey the wedding file she has on the
couple. When Kelsey arrives at Babs's office, the
door is ajar. Kelsey wanders inside only to find
Kelsey, her long time friend, Brody and Laurel, her
assistant now must save the wedding, stay away
from not so friendly wedding planners, keep
winemakers at a distance and avoid a cold blooded
killer. In addition, the three work at trying to solve
the murder that is trying to be directed at Kelsey.
The vivid scenery will make you feel as if you are
visiting the wineries in California. The plot will keep
the reader on their toes as you try to guess the
killer. The twists and turns add to the mystery,
suspense and intrigue.
The characters are well defined, colorful and very
There is humor and a touch of romance.
Very enjoyable and entertaining read!!!
I volunteered to read the book. Thanks to the author and
publisher via The Cozy Mystery Review Crew for the book.
My opinion is my own.